Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Natural Dyeing

Time seems to zip past me in a blur these days, probably something to do with the fact that I have been frantically working on my quilt for the Festival of Quilts.  Happily I put the final stitches in last night and it is even now winging its way to the Shippers who will take it to the NEC.  I shall contain my excitement (not) and show it to you after the exhibition,mostly because I can't be bothered to go and fetch my camera and upload the photo I took this morning!  Lazy beggar!

When I wasn't working on my quilt I have been to another workshop.  This one was tutored by my friend Angela who blogs as Fenland Textiles.    We had a really lovely and leisurely day so that while I started out feeling a bit stressed by the end of the day I was tired but relaxed and had some lovely fabric samples to boot!

The day started with Angela introducing the natural products we would be dyeing with and these were madder, weld, cochineal, brazilwood, logwood, cutch, dandelion and birch bark.  

Each of the dyestuffs were boiled up and then simmered until the colour looked strong enough (technical term) and then we had to cleverly drain off the liquid, remembering not to let it go down the drain!  The dye was then returned to the pan and the fabric and yarn samples simmered further.  By the end of the day we each had a group of samples of each colour.  Angela was a star for preparing 8 packs of  9 samples of various fabric, lace, yarn etc.  That's a mountain of small squares and acres of yarn tied with little snippets of cotton. 

Angela had brought some samples of ready dyed fabrics and yarns to give us an idea of where we were heading

Our own samples were hung up to dry over lunch

and we dyed just as much in the afternoon session but I didn't get chance to photograph them before they were packed away to take home. 

The results above are, clockwise from top left, cutch, cochineal, brazilwood, weld (bottom right), birchbark, daffodil, logwood and madder (centre).  The daffodil came out a very delicate colour and the logwood is a gorgoeus colour.  I should point out that all the fabric and yarn had been mordanted by Angela before we started.  

I am used to dyeing with Procion dyes which give you a trong colour but I really like these gentle hues and may well investigate dyeing from natural sources further.  

Angela has prepared a proper dye book from her own samples and I still have to do that with mine.  I do hope to use the dyed fabrics in a project so I keep a permanent reminder of the workshop.  I should say that the workshop took place at Unique Cottage Studios near Spalding.  

I thought you might like a little news of my mum, not wishing to bore you but I do like to share good news.  Mum is doing really well and has had another visit from some very special friends from home.  

Doesn't she look happy!  Mum coped really well with the visit and enjoyed the conversation, just taking a little time out when she couldn't quite keep up with everything.

As you'd expect when friends get together food played a part.  We went out to a local pub for Sunday lunch and mum decided she would share a dessert with her fiend.  We tried to tell her that the pud would be too big but she assured us she could eat it ;-)

What do you think? ROFL  Mum's eyes nearly popped out of her head!  And the laughter went on and on :-)  Fortunately there were three willing volunteers (well, sort of willing) to help her work her way through this mountain (which of course is obscene bearing in mind what's happening in Africa).

All in all a wonderful day full of laughter and memories.  It is wonderful that people should take time to travel all the way to Lincolnshire to visit Mum.
What was that?  "Get off your lazy butt and phtograph your quilt!"  Oh, all right then.  I don't think there is anything to stop me showing you my entry to FOQ as it's not a juried show and I am definitely not in line for any of the prizes.

Not the best quality photo but you get the general idea.  The quilt is a turning nine patch which I then cross cut so it's a disappearing 9 patch, hence the title 'Turning, Disappearing'.  It incorporates altered digital images printed on organza and I quilted it with a wavy pattern.  I don't mean to gripe but I am disappointed in it because I wanted to be much more adventurous but circumstances prevented that.  I am at least relieved that I have met the target and it's now in the post so there won't be a gap on the wall with my name on it.  If you're going to Festival of Quilts it's number 330The fabrics are nearly all my own hand dyes.


Susan D said...

I'm so glad to hear your Mum is doing so well.

Love the subtle natural dyes compared to procion.

dianehobbit said...

Wow what a desert. I will look out for your quilt.

ju-north said...

Pleased your mum had a good day! Your quilt is a testimony to your creativity!

Gina said...

What beautiful colours you've achieved with your natural dyes. I've got some madder and logwood somewhere so feel inspired to dig them out and have a play. Looking forward to seeing you and your quilt in a couple of weeks. Great to see your Mum looking so well and happy too.

quilthexle said...

Your mom looks really happy - how wonderful! Your adventures with natural dyes are truly tempting ... I use Procion dyes (and I just hope the weather will be WARM on Aug. 6th !!! friends and me are going to dye a whole day ...). Your quilt for FOQ is beautiful, something to be proud about. Wish I could see it (and you ...) at Birmingham ;-)) I love the colour combination and how the values are spread - eye catching!

sandra wyman said...

Loved this quilt Julie -you are really going places with your work: I shall really enjoy standing and looking at it in detail at FOQ.

And so nice to see your Mum so happy.

Read about the workshop on Angela's blog - didn't realise you could get such an assortment of colours with natural dyes...being a procion girl myself you understand...

peneller said...

Love the quilt Julie and I'm so glad your mum is doing well. Working with natural dyes is very rewarding as the colours you get are much more subtle and they don't clash. Your samples look lovely.
Happy birthday!
Love Penny

Heather said...

Your Mum looks wonderful and obviously enjoyed that visit. Your quilt also looks wonderful - your own hand-dyed fabrics make it special. I love natural dyes even though they are so time consuming. Procions are so quick and easy but it is difficult to get those gorgeous subtle shades which seem to glow somehow. I must get back to dyeing my own fabrics.

Yvonne said...

The natural dyes come out so gorgeous. wow, now that is a dessert!

Ro Bruhn said...

What beautiful colours from the natural dyes and you went to my home town for the class. So glad your mum's doing well, it makes life so much easier when they're happy.

Angela said...

Love the colours you achieved at your dyeing workshop.
How nice to see your mum so well and happy and there's obviously nothing wrong with her appetite!
I look forward to seeing your quilt.

Amanda said...

Fabulous colours! I bet you're over the moon.

And you Mum looks fab too.

And just for good measure, what a fab quilt!! I'm sure it will be very much admired at FoQ.

Hope you've had a wonderful birthday.

silverpebble said...

Wow what a pudding!

I so love those beautiful muted shades you created with your natural dyeing. So exciting!

JP said...

your mum looks really improved and content - well done to you both for all the hard work you have done - love the dyed fabrics - what did she use as a mordant? - the quilt looks fascinating - sad not to be going to FOQ this year

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

WOW I cud hav got INT to that desert bowlk an likt it owt!!! HEHEHE!

I like yor kwilt it is nice an blooey.

Did the dye smell ov enything intresting?

That foto of evrything drying looks like pants hung owt to dry! HEHEHE!


Clare Wassermann said...

I will be looking out for your quilt!

pam said...

A superb blog so much going on - the colurs of your dyes were gorgeous - and the photos of a happy mum are really lovely to see.
Look forward to seeing your quilt at the NEC shall look out for it.

Cassy said...

It's nice to see a photo of you and your mum. Nice post. Looking forward for some updates.

Cassy from Rock Guitar Lessons

Teacher's Pet said...

News about one's Mom is never boring....and I'm so happy to see her happy! The smiles speak volumes. I came here from Imac's Blog...love your quilt. Talented you are!

Dave said...

I think I know exactly the restaurant you went to with that over-sized dessert as we live just outside Spalding, they might be big but they are nice! I'm glad you all had a great time.
As for the quilt it's brilliant! I'm certainly no expert but I really like the colours and textures on the individual pieces, keep up the good work.

Helena said...

I'm so glad you rmum is doing well!

Lynne said...

Well done on the quilt Julie - if I get to FOQ I'll make sure to take a look. The natural dyes are lovely and what a variety of colour.

Linda said...

I would LOVE to have a go at that ....what fun!
Looking forward to seeing your quilt in real life Julie :-)
Great photos of your mum...looks like she had a really good time.

Found art blog said...

Hello! a mutual friend Helena nominated you to win a prize off my blog - ten items "not yet lost" (that'll make sense if you pop over to visit!) and you won! If you could let me know your snail mail address that would be fab. I've asked Helena to confirm this too! Love, Beanie

katney said...

I am taking some nine-patches on retreat and may take a turn at disappearing them. Someone there will surely know how. But turning? Hmmm. Going to have to look that one up.

Jackie said...

I didn't know what number your quilt was and didn't have a programme but I am happy to say ...I guessed right! Well done. It was lovely to see you today.